Who uses checkbooks?

Why we still use checkbooks to pay the rent - A fragmented rental market and old habits help keep checkbooks in existence


Across the U.S. economy, check use fell 57 percent from 2000 to 2012, according to the most recent data from the Federal Reserve.

... “Most young renters only have a checkbook to pay the rent,” says Jonathan Eppers, chief executive at RadPad, a Santa Monica (Calif.)-based startup that facilitates electronic rent payments. Despite the convenience to landlords and tenants of managing lease payments digitally, 70 percent of U.S. renters still pay by check, according to PayLease, another e-rent facilitator.

... old habits die hard, even for the tech-savvy. A survey published by the National Multifamily Housing Council found that 79 percent of renters would prefer to pay electronically. But the companies that help landlords accept e-payments have had to dangle goodies in front of tenants to get them to make the switch. RentMoola, a Vancouver-based startup, offers deals from companies that include Uber and 1800Flowers to renters who pay online. International Bancard, which operates an electronic rent-pay service, hosts pizza parties at which company employees walk tenants through the sign-up process, says Jessica Fields, a senior vice president at the company. Checks, as a common way to pay rent, will almost certainly go away, eventually. The question is what type of payment will replace them. Smartphone payments service Venmo sees spikes in usage around the first of the month, spokeswoman Lisa Kornblatt says. Landlords, meanwhile, will likely continue to add options for tenants to pay online via bank transfer. And third-party players such as RadPad accept debit- and credit-card payments from renters, then cut checks to landlords.
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  • We use bill pay for almost everything. Most purchases go on a credit card. Bill pay is used for everthing except (examples):
    • We sent a handwritten check to a small Methodist church as a memorial upon the death of my cousin.
    • When we send birthday gifts to loved ones we include a handwritten check in with the birthday card.
    • We have a separate checking account just for handwritten checks
  • I estimate that we write 20 checks a year.  


  1. I'm sure some might find this weird, but we use bill pay to send our church contributions. No one seems to complain about this but when the plate passes we do put anything in

  2. Lot of smaller town businesses don't do online, so we go through a few books per year.

  3. We use electronic methods for everything except...our daughter's school tuition (this will change next year) and often paying baby sitters by check.

    Jim, we also pay church contributions electronically. The church wanted to publicize the availability of that option, so each pew has distinctive laminated cards in with the offering envelopes you can opt to put in the plate. It also puts the nosy blue-haired ladies sitting next to us at ease. :)

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